Kidney Disease in Children

Comprehensive Care for Pediatric Kidney Disorders

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Children with kidney disorders need expert care from many specialists who work together to prevent complications, disease progression, and kidney failure. Receiving care from a team of experts is vital, as children with kidney disease may also have medical conditions involving the heart, liver, lung, or brain. That's why Duke pediatric nephrologists work closely with other Duke specialists to ensure your child receives optimal care in a friendly and collaborative environment.

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About Kidney Disease in Children

A Range of Kidney Conditions
There are many different types of kidney disease that affect children. Some are temporary and treatable. Other forms of kidney disease are long-lasting and may affect your child’s growth, development, and psychosocial/educational achievement. The range of kidney diseases includes: 

  • Congenital abnormalities or birth defects, such as having a kidney that is not well-formed, a single kidney, a kidney with reduced function, or a kidney that is not draining properly into the bladder
  • Polycystic kidney disease, Alport's syndrome, and other kidney diseases that run in families
  • Lupus, vasculitis (inflammation of blood vessels), uncontrolled hypertension, and diabetes, which are considered systemic kidney diseases
  • Kidney filtering disorders such as nephrotic syndrome, which cause protein to leak into the urine

Diagnosing Your Child's Kidney Disease Is Our First Priority
We aim to accurately diagnose your child's kidney disease, understand the cause, and start treatment promptly to slow the progression and decline in kidney function.

Our Locations

Duke Health offers locations throughout the Triangle. Find one near you.


Your child’s kidney disease treatment is highly personalized and based on the cause, stage of disease, and whether or not there are complications. Our goals are to manage your child’s condition, reverse the disease when possible, slow disease progression, and delay the need for dialysis or kidney transplant for as long as possible.


We prescribe appropriate medications to lower blood pressure, treat kidney infections, and reduce kidney inflammation. Medications may also be prescribed to treat complications of kidney disease such as growth failure, anemia, and bone disease due to kidney failure.


We offer acute hemodialysis, continuous kidney replacement therapy, and home-based continuous cycling peritoneal dialysis to mechanically filter wastes from the blood.

Nutrition Counseling

Our licensed dietitian offers guidance on optimal nutrition for your child. 


Surgery may be necessary to correct birth defects, fix urinary tract obstructions, or optimize bladder drainage.

Kidney Transplant

This surgery replaces a diseased kidney with a healthy one from a living or deceased donor.

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We use urine and blood tests, as well as advanced imaging, to assess your child’s kidney disease and make treatment recommendations. 

Renal Nuclear Scan

This imaging scan helps us understand how well your child’s kidneys work and identify the cause of reduced kidney function.

Voiding Cystourethrogram

This type of X-ray allows doctors to view your child’s kidneys and bladder to look for a blockage or backflow of urine to the kidney.

Kidney Biopsy

In some cases, a small piece of tissue is obtained from the kidney to determine the extent of your child's kidney disease and to guide the appropriate treatment recommendation.

Best Children's Hospital in NC

Duke Children's Hospital & Health Center is proud to be nationally ranked in 10 pediatric specialties.

Why Choose Duke

Collaboration with Pediatric Specialists
Our pediatric nephrologists work closely with other Duke specialists -- including pediatric urologists, cardiologists, rheumatologists, gastroenterologists, and other experts -- to manage your child’s kidney disease and related conditions.

Ongoing Research Advances
Our ongoing research includes: 

  • Studies to determine why some children develop kidney disease while others do not and why certain children rapidly progress to kidney failure despite treatment
  • Studies to assess how genes put some children at higher risk for kidney conditions like nephrotic syndrome and congenital malformations of the kidney
  • Clinical trials of new medications to treat nephrotic syndrome and other kidney diseases  
  • New and personalized immunosuppression for children who have received a kidney transplant

Nationally Recognized Pediatric Kidney Specialists
Our doctors are frequently invited to speak at national and international conferences. We also train tomorrow’s kidney specialists at Duke University School of Medicine and write articles for medical journals and chapters for medical school textbooks.

If Your Child Needs a Kidney Transplant
If your child has end-stage kidney failure and needs a kidney transplant, you can feel confident in our expertise. Our experienced pediatric kidney transplant team performs successful transplants in children using kidneys from deceased and living donors and provides your child with innovative, personalized transplant care.

This page was medically reviewed on 03/29/2023 by